The MEK members, based in a camp called Ashraf 3 in Tirana, Albania, have spent the past year using encrypted social media channels to broadcast videos of the protests that were captured on mobile devices by MEK supporters inside Iran. These protests, which began in December 2017, spread across Iran and have continued despite a violent crackdown by the Regime that killed dozens and sent thousands to jail. The Regime has tried to pretend that the protests are over, even barring state media from airing videos of the protest, so the Regime will be furious that the MEK is continuing to expose the high levels of dissent in the country.
The MEK members relocated to Albania after suffering intense persecution from the Iranian Regime at Camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq, despite being protected persons under the Geneva Convention and assurances about their safety by the Iraqi government. The MEK was subjected to years or intimidation, harassment, and even rocket attacks in their camps influenced, which resulted in the deaths of dozens and the injury of hundreds more.
Some of the MEK members at Ashraf 3 spoke to Scottish Newspaper, The National, to explain why they are keeping up this cyber campaign and unsurprising, the answer was to help bring down the Regime faster, so that a new democratic Iran could emerge.
Forough Moezzi, who works in the MEK’s information unit, said: “We are a resistance movement so our lives and our work is part of the struggle against the Iranian regime. We live here together and plan the future. We want to go back to Iran – a free Iran – and I think it will be very soon because we see international sanctions and pressure on the regime. I believe freedom is very near.”
Moezzi joined the MEK, alongside her sister, when the MEK was still at the original Ashraf camp in Iraq. Their father, who had returned to Iran, had his home attacked and was tortured by the Regime, purely because his daughters were in the MEK. Moezzi’s uncle was executed by the Regime at 23 for being a MEK member.
While MEK member Parvin Poureghbalie, who studied in Iran in 1980, one year after the mullahs stole power, said that the violence against dissenters started then.
She said: “I was in one of the smaller cities in Iran – Kerman – we were about 180 young girls and we were arrested. From that 180 the majority were either killed or disappeared, some went to other countries and only a small number are still in Iran. I feel I have a heavy responsibility for them.”
She went on to say that the situation in Iran today is untenable and must end soon.
She said: “The people are starving and searching the garbage for food in a very rich country. Workers have been asking why they haven’t had their salaries for months. Just to get their salaries they have to demonstrate. We have taken a long and hard path but now we are sure that our return is coming closer. The time we go back to a free Iran will be very soon.”
While Mohammad Shafaei, a member of the MEK’s research team, which helps Iranians to circumvent the Regime’s internet censorship, explained that he was orphaned at just eight-years-old after the Regime murdered his family. His father, a doctor, was shot for treating wounded MEK members and his brother was tortured to death in Evin prison.
Shafaei also helps the MEK to identify fake apps and spyware created by the Regime to spy on the Iranian people; which the MEK broadcasts to the Iranian people so that they can stay safe.
He said: “What we do is provide proxies to let the people circumvent internet censorship so they can see the demonstrations and unrest in their own country. Iran uses fake applications or spyware, spreads them among users in the country to trace their connections – so we try to disclose all these activities in cyberspace.”